Southeast Asia’s accelerating internet economy

By Peter Ford

In November, Google and Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek published its e-Conomy SEA 2018 report, a detailed look at how the internet is used across Southeast Asia. While Cambodia wasn’t one of the 6 countries that Google and Temasek focused on, it still makes for fascinating reading for anyone involved in the internet economy.

The single biggest take away from the report is how quickly internet use, and its economic value, is increasing.

“Simply put, Southeast Asia’s internet economy hit an inflection point in 2018. Powered by the most engaged mobile internet users in the world, industries like e-Commerce, Online Media, Online Travel, and Ride Hailing grew at an unprecedented rate.”

The central importance of smartphones to the growth of this sector is highlighted as well. As Geeks has shown, smartphone and mobile internet use in Cambodia is rapidly growing, and the same is true from across the region according to the report.

“With more than 90% of Southeast Asians connecting to the internet primarily through their smartphones, this is one of the most mobile-first internet regions globally.”

One area of significant growth is the ride-hailing space. With Grab’s absorption of Uber last year, they are now the dominant player in much of Southeast Asia, but Indonesia’s Go-Jek seems intent on challenging this position. After their recent launch in Vietnam, how long before Go-Jek enters Cambodia?

“Powered by the ambitions of Go-Jek and Grab to become Southeast Asia’s “everyday apps,” we project that Ride Hailing will reach almost $30 billion by 2025, including more than $20 billion of Online Transport and over $8 billion of Online Food Delivery.”

While Cambodia’s startup, fintech and digital landscape continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace, the report suggests that it is only going to develop even quicker, if the results from neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam are accurate predictors. This is of course exciting for the Kingdom, and we look forward to seeing just now this manifests in the next few years.

For anyone involved in the digital economy in Cambodia, we recommend reading the full report HERE.